The goal of the Niles Water Department is to produce the best quality of water possible for its residents and surrounding communities.

On this page you will find links to a number of documents concerning the treatment plant. There is a history of the plant, water quality reports, and the annual report.  We welcome any questions you may have concerning water treatment or the quality of the water produced at this plant. 

The responsibility of the Water Department is to provide the citizens of Niles with clean water. They must purify water as it comes from the reservoir, and monitor the various chemical and substance levels in the water to ensure the safety and health of those that drink/use the water. This department also must monitor stores of water to be sure that there is enough to provide to the city, that all modes of transporting the water from the reservoir and to the people are safe and in proper working order, i.e. pipes are secure and not broken or leaking, and to respond to water emergencies, such as a water main break. 

The source for drinking water in Niles is the Meander Creek Reservoir. Meander Water treats approximately 24 million gallons per day of raw water, and pumps it to Youngstown, Niles, and McDonald. These communities distribute the water to residents and surrounding areas. Treatment includes chemical addition for softening, disinfection, fluoridation, taste & odor control, mixing, settling, filtration, and pumping. Niles distributes approximately 6 million gallons per day through 100 miles of pipeline to residents and sells water to Girard, Lordstown, Mineral Ridge, and portions of Howland and Weathersfield Townships. The water produced meets or exceeds State and Federal regulations.

The Mahoning Valley Sanitary District water system treats the water to meet drinking water supply quality standards, but no single treatment technique can address all potential contaminants. The potential for water quality impacts can further be decreased by measures to protect Meander Creek Reservoir and its watershed. More detailed information is provided in the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District’s Drinking Water Source Assessment Report, which can be obtained by calling John Nemet at (330)652-3614. The MVSD Meander Creek Reservoir Drinking Water Source Protection Plan is available at the meanderwater.org website by clicking on the link for Administration Public Records.

MVSD Drinking Water Source Protection Plan

Water line breaks and repairs are the most common reason for issuing a boil water advisory. Other circumstances that warrant an advisory include loss of pressure in a significant portion of the distribution system.


Why are boil advisories necessary?

Boil advisories protect residents from possible contamination of the water due to a loss of adequate pressure in the water main. Boil advisories are issued when water lines do not maintain adequate levels of pressure due to planned water main repairs or replacement, or because of an emergency, such as a water main break. When water lines lose pressure, they may be subject to soils or debris entering the system.

Why didn’t I have more notice of the boil advisory?

If it is a planned repair or replacement you will be given notification via the City mass alert notification system. If it is due to a water main break, our crews work very hard to make the necessary repairs without losing pressure in the lines so citizens do not have to be inconvenienced with a boil advisory. Unfortunately, sometimes losing pressure cannot be avoided, regardless of their efforts, and a boil advisory must be issued.

How do I know when my water is safe to drink again?

Boil advisories are issued for specified amounts of time. This time allows for thorough testing of the water prior to the expiration of the boil advisory. The boil advisory extends throughout the period of disruption, repair of the line, and the testing of the water after repairs have been made.

What should I do if I have been issued a boil advisory?

Run cold water taps to flush lines, then boil water for drinking and cooking.

  1. Flush all taps used for drinking and cooking by running cold faucets for at least 3 minutes.
  2. Boil the water for 3 minutes and cool before using (or use bottled water). Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making formula, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food until the advisory expires. You may resume normal tap water use at that time unless notified that the advisory is extended.
  3. If your water appears discolored, avoid washing clothes or using the hot water taps until you have run the cold water faucets and the water clears.
For what uses should I boil the water?

Water that will be used for drinking, brushing teeth, making ice, washing dishes, making formula, and for all food preparation needs to be boiled for 3 minutes prior to using while under a boil advisory.

Can I use my coffee maker, water, or soda dispenser?

Do not use if they are directly connected to your water supply. Use bottled water or water that has been boiled or disinfected for making coffee and ice. Also, filters don’t work for removing bacteria. Once you have been notified that the boil advisory has been lifted, these devices should be cleaned, disinfected and flushed according to the operator’s manual for the device.

How should I was my hands during a boil advisory?

Vigorous hand washing with soap and your tap water is safe for basic personal hygiene. However, if you are washing your hands to prepare food, you should use boiled (then cooled) water, disinfected or bottled water with hand washing soap.

Why is my water rusty?

It is normal to experience air and/or rust in tap water once water service has been restored. Please run each of the cold water faucets until the water runs clear. Avoid washing clothes or using hot water taps until you have done so.

Niles Backflow Prevention Program

Backflow Prevention

What is a backflow?
A water system depends on pressure to keep water flowing in the proper direction through the pipes. However, anything that causes a drop in water pressure can create a reverse flow from a homeowner’s plumbing system back into the public water system. This is called backflow.

For example, if you have a garden hose submerged to fill a bucket, Jacuzzi, fish tank, etc., and the water system suddenly loses pressure, the flow of water can be reversed, sucking any contaminants in that water backwards into the system.

A cross-connection is any physical connection between a possible source of contamination and the public water system. For example, if a homeowner or business uses a cistern or an old well for outdoor watering, it cannot in any way be connected to pipes that are connected to the City of Niles water system. Even with a valve in place, it is illegal.

Residents or businesses with an in-ground sprinkler or irrigation system will be required to have an approved, testable backflow prevention device on lawn irrigation systems (either a pressure vacuum breaker or a reduced pressure principle backflow device). They must also provide proof that the backflow prevention device has been inspected and tested by a certified tester annually. Most lawn irrigation installers and local plumbers can provide these services.

The City of Niles is permitted to conduct future inspections of residences or businesses connected to the water system and require the installation of backflow prevention devices as needed.

What are examples of cross-connections and backflow scenarios?

  • Soapy water or other cleaning compounds back-siphoned into your water supply plumbing through a faucet or hose submerged in a bucket or laundry basin.
  • A hose submerged in a swimming pool creates a pathway for pool water to enter your water supply plumbing.
  • Fertilizers / pesticides back-siphoned into your water supply plumbing through a garden hose attached to a fertilizer / pesticide sprayer.
  • Chemicals / pesticides and animal or bird droppings drawn into your supply plumbing from a lawn irrigation system with submerged nozzles.
  • Bacteria / chemicals / additives present in a boiler system back siphoned into the water supply.
  • A connection made between a private well supply and the water being supplied by a public water system through the water supply plumbing.

What can I do to prevent backflow?

  • Be aware of and eliminate cross-connections.
  • Maintain air gaps. Do not submerge hoses or place them where they could become submerged.
  • Use hose bib vacuum breakers on fixtures (hose connections in the basement, laundry room and outside).
  • Make sure toilets have anti-siphon ballcock assemblies.
  • Install approved, testable backflow prevention devices on lawn irrigation systems.
  • Install an approved, testable backflow prevention device at your home’s water service connection.
  • Do not create a connection between an auxiliary water system (well, cistern, body of water) and the water supply plumbing.

Who is responsible?
In Ohio, the responsibility for preventing backflow is divided. In general, state and local plumbing inspectors have authority over plumbing systems within buildings while Ohio EPA and water suppliers regulate protection of the distribution system at each service connection.

Water customers have the ultimate responsibility for properly maintaining their plumbing system. It is the homeowner’s or other customer’s responsibility to ensure that cross-connections are not created and that any required backflow prevention devices are tested yearly and are in operable condition.

What is the law?
Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3745-95 requires public water suppliers to protect their water systems from cross-connections and prevent backflow situations. Public water suppliers must conduct cross-connection control inspections of their water customers’ property to evaluate cross-connection hazards.

If a homeowner is found to have a potential or actual cross-connection contamination hazard, the customer will be required to eliminate the hazard and / or install an appropriate backflow prevention device at the service connection and / or at the hazard.

  • If you suspect a cross-connection exists at your residence, please contact Kevin Robertson at 330-544-9000 X:1171 or krobertson@thecityofniles.com

Backflow prevention is the process of ensuring that potentially hazardous materials do not contaminate the City’s water system through water lines.

As a water purveyor, the City of Niles is required by the Environmental Protection Agency and Niles Codified Ordinances to maintain a backflow prevention program. 

Backflow prevention includes the review of building plans as well as inspection of local commercial properties to determine the degree of potential hazard to the city water system. If a backflow preventer is mandated, the City will inform the owner and provide guidance on the process.

Owners are responsible for the annual inspection of all backflow preventers. A list of certified plumbers/testers is available below.

Backflow Ordinance:

   The Cross Control Program, at the discretion of Director of Public Service shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:
   (a)   All new and replacement commercial and industrial water services supplied from the water works mains of the City of Niles shall have an approved backflow device on the inside of water meter setting.
   (b)   If, in the judgment of the Director of Public Service, an approved backflow prevention device is necessary for the safety of the public water system, the Director shall give notice to the water consumer to install such an approved device immediately.  The water consumer shall, at his own expense, install such an approved device at a location and in a manner approved by the Director and shall have inspections and annual tests made of such approved devices as required.  All testing and reports of backflow prevention devices must be performed by an Ohio Department of Commerce Certified Backflow Tester.
   (c)   The City may deny or discontinue water service until a test report is submitted certifying a new backflow device is installed and operating properly.
   (d)   No person, firm or corporation shall establish, or permit to be established, or maintain, or permit to be maintained, any connection whereby a private, auxiliary or emergency water supply other than the public water supply of the City may enter the supply or distributing system of the City, unless such private, auxiliary or emergency water supply shall have been approved by the Director of Public Service and by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
   (e)   It shall be the duty of the Director of Public Service to cause surveys and investigations to be made of industrial and other properties served by the public water supply where actual or potential hazards to the public water supply may exist.  Such surveys and investigations shall be made a matter of public record and shall be repeated as often as the Director shall deem necessary.
   (f)   The Director of Public Service, or his duly authorized representative, shall have the right to enter, at any reasonable time, any property served by a connection to the public water supply or distribution system of the City for the purpose of inspecting the piping system or systems thereof.  On demand, the owner, lessees or occupants of any property so served shall furnish to the Director any information that he may request regarding the piping system or systems or water use on such property.  The refusal of such information, when demanded, shall, within the discretion of the Director be deemed evidence of the presence of improper connections as provided in this section and chapter.
   (g)   The water consumer, owner, lessee or occupant must maintain a record of each backflow prevention device.  This shall include a record of the most current backflow device test report and if applicable, record of repair or rebuild for each device.  Records of tests and repairs shall be submitted to the water department within ten (10) days of completion.
   (h) When notified by the City Backflow Administrator that the annual Backflow Prevention Containment Device test is due, the consumer, owner, lessee, or occupant shall have thirty (30) days to have a Certified Backflow Prevention Tester conduct a test of their device(s). If repairs are required, the device(s) must be retested following the repair. Test results must be submitted by the consumer, owner, lessee, or occupant to the City Backflow Administrator within the thirty (30) day period. If there is a legitimate problem in meeting the thirty (30) day timeframe the consumer, owner, lessee, or occupant must notify the City Backflow Administrator, in advance, to request an extension. Failure to meet these requirements will result in immediate termination of the water service. Water service shall be restored to the premises after the device(s) is successfully tested and results are received by the City Backflow Administrator.
   (i)   The Director of Water Utility Operations is hereby authorized and directed to discontinue, after reasonable notice to the occupant thereof, the water service to any property wherein any connection in violation of the provisions of this section or chapter is known of to exist, and to take such other precautionary measures as he may deem necessary to eliminate any danger of contamination of the public water supply distribution mains.  Water service to such property shall not be restored until such conditions shall have been eliminated or corrected in compliance with the provisions of this section, chapter and any other applicable laws and regulations.
   (j)   The City shall bear no liability for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages proximately caused by the discontinuance of service pursuant to this section.
   (k)   The Director of Public Service may adopt and enforce regulations in accord with this section.
      (Ord.  49-17.  )

To find a certified backflow tester in your area, please search the Ohio Department Commerce website in the “Look It Up” section. Select “Industrial Complaisance”,  then select “Plumbing/Backflow”, then select “Certified Testers”. Type in the County you live in for a list of certified backflow testers.

Certified Backflow Testers

To assist in protecting the Niles public water system, residents and businesses can report a cross-connection or backflow issue by contacting the Director of Public Service at 330-544-9000 ext. 1103.

Please see the following links to review the Ohio EPA’s rules and guidelines for backflow prevention, in relation to residential and cross-connection control.  For more information contact the Director of Public Service at 330-544-9000 ext. 1103.


KEVIN ROBERTSON – krobertson@thecityofniles.com 
330-544-9000 X: 1171

Backflow Reports


City Building

Lower Level

34 West State Street
Niles, OH 44446


Extension – 1200


Monday – Friday

8:30 AM – 4 PM

Kevin Robertson


Consumer Confidence Reports

Backflow Form